How to Survive a Festival: Essential Tips from the Outdoor Experts

Festival season is in full swing and whether you’re a veteran festival goer or a first timer, these essential tips from outdoor specialists Millets will help you get the most out of your festival experience.

Choose location wisely

The first thing you’re going to want to do when you arrive is set up base camp. A quick tip for finding the perfect location is to show up early – arriving later than everyone else means that all the best spots will be taken.

A wise plan is to choose a spot that’s not too remote but not in the middle of all the action. Look for landmarks such as toilets, sign posts, trashed tents or nearby paths for orientation so you can easily find your way back at the end of the day. This is particularly important at bigger festivals such as Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading.

Set up base camp

If you’re camping in a group, form a circle with your tents with an open inner area. As anti-social as it may sound, try and get your tents as close as possible with few gaps in between. If you leave any wide spaces between your tents people will likely set up in between them and invade your space.

When you’ve got yourself set up, you should take a moment to get to know your neighbours for the next few days. Doing this means that you can set up some boundaries and avoids any awkward interactions later on. If you’re not difficult with them, they shouldn’t be difficult with you. Making new friends also enhances the festival experience and provides an extra set of eyes to spot anyone going through your belongings when they shouldn’t be.

Take a roomy tent

If your festival tent says it sleeps two, it doesn’t always mean that two people should sleep in it. Festival tents outline how many it fits, but don’t account for possessions and belongings. Regular campers are used to being crammed into a small area for a night and will quite easily get by, however, most festivalgoers find that they are a lot more comfortable if they simply just go up a size. If you’re planning on fitting two, make sure it’s in a three-man tent. Also, remember to practice pitch at home to make it easier when setting up inside the festival.

Stay secure

Where there’s a big event with tens of thousands of people, there’s bound to be a few thieves. Don’t let this put you off though, just try your hardest to get the best defence. The best way to protect yourself and your valuables is to leave anything worth stealing at home – don’t take anything you’re not prepared to lose. Any valuables you feel you must take with you, keep them on you at all times.

It may seem like a good idea to padlock your tent; however, this only attracts thieves who’ll think they’ve hit the jackpot. A knife can easily penetrate a tent, lock or no lock, so just avoid advertising your belongings.

Additional tips & hacks

Read the rules – Most festivals will have their own rules and regulations. Take some time before the festival to read up on them. Most rules won’t be too strict. Some festival campgrounds for example won’t allow glass bottles to be taken inside. Make sure you comply with the rules set so that you avoid things being confiscated at the gates or perhaps even being kicked out.

Pack a pillow case, not a pillow – We know it sounds odd, but hear us out. When you’re packing your pillow, just take the pillow case instead. Then, when you arrive at your campsite and begin setting up, place your clothes inside the pillow case – there’s your pillow. It saves space in your pack and provides more convenient storage for your clothes.

Duct tape around a bottle – Some people take a roll of duct tape (gaffer tape) to festivals in case of unexpected rips and tears, but most of the time this isn’t necessary. Just simply take a small piece of duct tape and wrap it around a water bottle and that should be enough.

Top 10 Festival Essentials

Portable phone charger – There’s nothing worse than having a dead phone all weekend, especially when you’ve lost your group.
Head torch – Use it to navigate back to your tent at the end of the day or even as a fashion accessory in a rave. Either way, taking a head torch will leave you wondering how you ever got by without one.
Folding chair – You’re going to want one of these to sit on first thing in the morning and last thing at night when you’re at the campsite.
Sleeping bag – It may be summer, but it will get cold at night, so invest in a good quality sleeping bag to keep you warm.
Poncho – It wouldn’t be a true British summer if it didn’t pour down every now and then.
Additional layer of clothing – A reserve hoodie or jumper will go a long way if the 4am temperature decides to plummet and you’re still partying.
Ear plugs – Often a disregarded piece of kit, but trust us, when people are still up partying at 5am and you’re trying to sleep, you’ll be glad you have them.
Roll mat – For a quality night’s sleep.
Bin Bags – Bring a roll of bin bags to put all your rubbish in.
Hand Sanitiser – Trust us on this one, you’re going to want some of this – especially if you’re camping all weekend.

No matter which festival you’re booked in for, grab your festival essentials before you go and make sure you follow the guidelines, stay safe and most importantly have fun!